PV Cycle achieves record 96% recycle rate for silicon-based PV modules.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
European PV recycling stats in tonnes. Credit: PV Cycle

PV Cycle, a not-for-profit compliance and waste management programme solar PV technology in Europe, has achieved a record recycling rate of 96% for silicon-based PV modules.

Previous records stood at around 90%, a PV Cycle spokeswoman told PV Tech.

Now one of PV Cycle’s Europe-based recycling partners for silicon-PV modules is using a new process that combines mechanical and thermal treatment to recycle silicon flakes as well as recycling a combination of EVA laminate, silicon-based semiconductors and metals.

The spokeswoman said: “Previously there hadn’t been viable solutions for the further recycling of silicon flakes. The silicon flakes could be used for the production of new products or materials, but could not be further recycled in an environmentally and economically sound manner.”

The overall recycling process for a PV module begins with the removal of the frame, junction box and cables. The module is then shredded followed by sorting via a laser-based selection or vibration procedure. The final step involves refining and micro recycling the materials such as the silicon flakes.

PV Cycle’s new process now brings recycling rates of the silicon-based modules up to 96%, meaning that it has surpassed industry and Waste Electronics and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) standards, the company claims.

The remaining 4% that is not recycled tends to be made of some residues from the glass recovery and EVA foils. These are sent for energy recovery, which is a form of waste-to-energy technology.

A PV Cycle statement said that all kinds of PV technologies are equally suitable for recycling including silicon, CdTe, CIGS and flexible modules. The organisation also listed various benefits including recovering raw materials and conserving natural resources. It said glass, aluminium, copper, plastics from the cables and junction box, certain semiconductors as well as silver can be recycled

While PV Cycle’s new record accounts for silicon-based modules, the current industry average for recycling non-silicon based modules stands at 97% although rates of up to 98% have been achieved by PV Cycle.

Composition of a PV Module. Credit: PV Cycle

Read Next

May 13, 2022
Grant funding has been awarded to a project in Australia that will explore the potential revenue streams and consumer interest in used solar PV panels.
PV Tech Premium
May 9, 2022
The solar industry’s manufacturing footprint, and indeed the projects themselves, are becoming ever larger, with more panels and other associated equipment being packaged and shipped globally. Now, as Emilie Oxel O’Leary, CEO at Green Clean Solar explains, the industry is getting serious on its end of life obligations and establishing a true circular economy
March 21, 2022
Chinese module manufacturer Jolywood Solar has signed an agreement with the government of Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province to construct a high-purity, solar-grade polysilicon factory as it attempts to offset surging raw material costs and push for greater vertical integration.
January 24, 2022
Major polysilicon and wafer producer GCL-Poly Energy Holdings confirmed the completion of its granular silicon facility and, in a major reversal of last year’s fortunes, is expecting RMB5.5 billion (US$850 million) in net profit for 2021, according to a company statement.
December 21, 2021
Elkem has been given NOK16 million (US$1.78 million) from the Research Council of Norway to develop a silicon manufacturing process that eliminates all direct CO2 emissions associated with its production.
November 8, 2021
Chinese energy firm TBEA is planning to invest RMB 6 billion (US$938 million) to set up a silicon production facility with an annual output of 400,000MT in China’s Inner Mongolia region.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
June 7, 2022
Leonardo Royal London City, London, UK
Solar Media Events
June 14, 2022
Napa, USA
Solar Media Events
June 22, 2022
Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, Austin, Texas